Nature Mobile

Purchase Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner at Bookmarks.A secret underwater world brought to life: In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the water is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, and tadpoles growing. These secrets and many others are waiting to be discovered.over and under the pond. 

• An entertaining and educational look at the beauty the ecosystem has to offer. Stunning illustrations paired with an easy-to-follow storyline make this a great read for any early elementary school student

• Includes a glossary of animals that live in, near, and around the mountain pond to enrich the reading experience

• Inspires a love of nature and encourages young minds to explore the world around them

Over and Under the Pond is an excellent book to start a discussion about our ecosystem, and a great way to begin a discovery about your own local ecosystems! Lovers of nature will enjoy this project that encourages you to get outside and explore. You can even use the book as a jumping off point to do some research about the water systems, flora and fauna in your own backyard! Before you sit down to do the project, choose 3 – 5 of your favorite animals, insects, birds, and/or fish that live in your county. If you are unable to go out in nature, you can use iNaturalist to find the creatures that live in your county!

There are so many ways to complete this nature mobile project. The main instructions, including the video instructions, will be using paint, but don’t let that stop you! Check out the “options” section at the bottom of the page for a list of all the different materials you can use to make a mobile – from crayons to collage! There are also suggestions in the directions if you are note using paint.

Follow along with the video, or the written instructions, or both! 


  • sturdy board or paper – cardboard, tagboard, cereal box, heavy white cardstock
  • craft acrylic paint
  • paintbrush
  • cup with water
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • permanent black marker
  • optional: watercolor paint
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • stick from your yard
  • yarn


click images for larger view

  • Paint one side of your sturdy board or paper white.
    • If you’re using a heavy white cardstock, you can skip this step.
    • If you are going to use oil pastels or collage materials instead of paint, you can skip this step.
  • Dry. You can speed the dry time using a hair dryer.
  • Paint the other side of the board a solid color of your choice. Or, choose multiple colors!
  • Choose 3 – 5 animals, insects, birds and/or fish that live in your county. These can be your favorite ones, or some you saw on a nature walk. 
  • Use a pencil to sketch the creatures.
  • Tip to transfer images if you don’t want to start sketching directly on the page:
    • Sketch your animal on a sheet of copy paper
    • Turn the paper over
    • Use a graphite pencil and color all over the back of the image
    • Flip it back over and place it on top of the paper you want the final image on
    • Trace over the image and the graphite on the back will transfer to the page
  • Cut around the images.
  • Trace over the pencil lines with a permanent black marker.
  • Use watercolor paint or craft acrylic to paint the creatures you drew. You can use their natural colors, or have fun and use different colors.
  • Not using paint?
    • You can color with oil pastels, crayons, markers, or colored pencils on the painted or unpainted surface – just remember, if the surface isn’t primed with white paint, the colors won’t be as vibrant. Oil pastels work well on painted or unpainted surfaces.
    • Use different papers and collage materials to decorate your creatures. 
  • Cut out the creatures.
  • Hole punch each creature near the top center.
  • Use yarn to wrap a stick, tying a knot on each side. This adds a fun and bright element, but it isn’t necessary. If you like your stick to look more natural, you do not have to wrap it. 
  • Tie yarn or string through each of the punched holes. Be sure to double knot it.
  • Place your stick on the table. 
  • Arrange your creatures across it at varying heights. 
  • Tie the other end of the string to the stick.
  • Trim excess string.
  • Hang your nature mobile for everyone to enjoy!

Cut + Paste Bookshelf partnered with Bookmarks, and Forsyth County Parks and Recreation’s Forsyth Creek Week for this art project.

Forsyth Creek Week is a week of celebration of Forsyth County’s creeks and waterways. It is packed full of fun, educational and recreational activities for all ages children to adults. As a part of the activities, the book, Over and Under the Pond, will be part of a Story Walk at Salem Lake. For more information on this project and all the amazing things Forsyth Creek Week has to offer, visit:


  • Paint free options:
    • Collage (assorted scrap paper, magazines, washi tape, ribbon, etc)
    • Crayons
    • Oil Pastels
    • Colored Pencils
    • Markers
  • Add actual nature to your mobile! Collect leaves, feathers or dried flowers to hang alongside the creatures you’ve added.
  • Do research on the creatures you added to your mobile. Share these fun facts with friends and family. 



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